Traditional Arts



DY Begay
Textile Artist
This award was generously supported by an Anonymous donor.

DY Begay, a Navajo born to the Totsohni’ (Big Water) Clan and born for the Tachinii’ (Red Running into Earth) Clan, is a fourth-generation weaver. Growing up around female weavers, she was exposed to herding and shearing sheep, carding and spinning wool, harvesting plants for dyeing, and learning to weave in the traditional Navajo fashion. Begay’s tapestries encompass her interpretation of the natural beauty and descriptive colors of the Navajo reservation and commemorate her family’s tradition by using the unique and local vegetation, reflecting on her Navajo identity. This spiritual connection to the plants yields the natural colors that are transformed into evocative land formations on her loom. Her current work combines her mastery of this tradition with unconventional uses of colors and design, producing experiments with non-reservation color combinations in her weavings.

Begay has exhibited in major museums including the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, New York City; Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM; Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH; C.N. Gorman Museum, Davis, CA; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.
Photo by Kelso Meyer.
  • Palette of Cochineal, tapestry, 33 x 48 inches, edition 02/2013, collection of Heard Museum.
  • Monumental Edge, tapestry, 39 x 84 inches, edition 06/2016, private collection. Photo by Kelso Meyer.
  • Drought, tapestry, 17 1/2 x 33 inches, private collection, edition 02/2003, 2002. Photo by Ken Howie.